Billy Allen and Braidy Halverson stood tall Saturday in the afterglow of the sunset at West Beach. The 11th-seeded men’s team in the AVP Santa Barbara Open beach volleyball tournament scored an improbable comeback victory over Phil Dalhausser and Sean Rosenthal to earn a berth in Sunday’s semifinals.
In the decisive third set of their elimination match (they traded 23-21 wins in the first two sets), Allen and Halverson fell six points behind No. 2-seeded Dalhausser and Rosenthal (8-2). But with Rosenthal suffering cramps after a long day on the beach, the longshot duo fought their way back and tied the score at 15-all. Several desperate rallied ensued, including a foot save by Rosenthal that went for naught, as the point went to the other side. When the last ball settled into the sand, Allen and Halverson secured a 19-17 victory.
It was the second drama-drenched match of the day at Court 1. In the late morning, Dalhausser and Rosenthal survived a back-and-forth match against Santa Barbara favorite Todd Rogers and Ryan Doherty, 19-21, 21-17, 15-10. Rogers, who turns 40 on Monday, was serenaded by UCSB’s pep band after the match.
Here is the lineup of matches Sunday in the $150,000 tournament. All will be played on the main court:
–Men’s semifinals: Tri Bourne and John Hyden vs. Allen and Halverson, 11 a.m. Jake Gibb and Casey Patterson vs. Adrian Carambula and Stafford Slick, 12 p.m. (Allen and Halverson will at least equal their best finish of third place. Carambula and Slick went unbeaten through the winner’s bracket and have already exceeded their previous AVP milestone of fifth place.)
–Women’s semifinals: April Ross and Kerri Walsh Jennings vs. Lauren Fendrick and Brittany Hochevar, 1 p.m. Jennifer Fopma and Brooke Sweat vs. Emily Day and Summer Ross, 2 p.m. (Ross and Walsh Jennings have won all eight sets they’ve played, the closest being 21-17.)
–Men’s final: 3:30 p.m.
–Women’s final: 4:30 p.m.
Admission is free and courtside seats in the sand first-come, first-served.